Early Wordsworth: Towards the Limits of the Picturesque

in Reflective Landscapes of the Anglophone Countries

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This essay endeavours to account for the originality of Wordsworth’s early poems and their conception of landscape. This includes ascertaining what “the picturesque” may have meant for Wordsworth beyond his later repudiations of the notion, but also analysing his early poetry as resulting from a collision between “picturesque” and “georgic” influences and imperatives. Wordsworth’s later poetics of place thus appears as first emerging from the problems and contradictions of 18th century poetry and aesthetics.